Can we all just agree that moving is the worst? I actually liked moving in the past when it was just Blaine and I. But add a baby and not only moving your household, but all the stuff you’ve been storing for your parents too and it gets to be overwhelming quickly.
We had plenty of time to prepare and were actually way ahead of schedule for a while because we started packing before even finding a house, but time caught up with us and towards the end we were scrambling. I’m going to share my best tips for moving while saving time and money (and your sanity, hopefully).
P.S. We got moving quotes from $3,800-$5,500 to move our 3 bedroom house about 100 miles away. We did it for close to $500 including the moving truck, labor (friends are free!), gas and a trailer to tow a car. If you can manage to do it yourself it really pays off! I’d rather work extra hard for a couple days and then spend that money on a nice vacation.
(Prefer to get your tips via video? Scroll down to the bottom!)
Call all of the stores in your area and ask them if you can take some boxes off their hands. They’ll likely tell you what day shipments come in and when is the best time to pick them up. When we moved my parents huge 3,000 sq ft house we actually put an ad on Craigslist asking for boxes and someone who had just done a big move gave us dozens and dozens of moving boxes. I was amazing! We weren’t able to get a lot of free boxes this time around, but didn’t spend a lot either. My favorite place to buy boxes is Home Depot. The small boxes are less than $1 and the medium boxes are just over $1. I usually try to keep to the smaller boxes because they’re easier to pack and lift.
Commit to one box a day
Anyone can pack just one box a day! And if you commit to that you’re getting there. It obviously depends on how close your move is, but since I started packing before we had even found a house to move to I just started with one box a day and it really helped. Plus, one I had finished one box I would sometimes end up doing two or three because I had the momentum.
Chill on the tape
It’s hard not to want to tape up every box really well, but you can save money by considering what’s in the box and how much tape you really need. Small lightweight boxes can probably handle just one strip of tape.
Pack & purge
As you pack each box, have a donation box and a trash can next to you. Throw out any trash and put anything you just don’t need into the donation box. We donated a couple car loads even after the yard sale.
Have a yard sale
We had a yard sale before we moved which gave us a little extra money to work with, but also saved us from packing even more boxes of stuff. Or even worse, in my opinion, than more boxes are those awkwardly shaped things that are too big for a box, but don’t stack well like clothing racks, baskets, etc.
Wrap breakables with fabric items
If you have thin blankets, clothes, etc. then you have what you need to pack up anything breakable that needs some padding! Unfortunately I didn’t think of this until most of my clothes were packed.
Collect ready to move items in one area
Every time we packed up a box and taped it shut, it immediately went into our family room where we kept everything that was ready to move. Keeping all of our packed items in one room really helped us see what we still needed to do which was harder if we were looking at a room full of stuff. As we packed, every room got more and more empty so we could see exactly what needed to be done.
Keep a tote of necessities
You’ll want to keep some things like toilet paper, paper towels, all purpose cleaning spray, hand soap, etc. handy. I also had a bag of toys and snacks for Atlas so that I didn’t have to dig around to find him something to play with or eat.
Consider a dumpster or extra trashcan
Maybe it’s just us, but when we move we always end up filing up our trash cans and recycling cans so quickly! Receipts, broken items that you’re been meaning to toss, etc. All these things come up when it’s time to pack them up and you realize you don’t want to move trash with you.
Leave the hangers on
If you have clothing on hangers don’t take them off! It’ll take you forever to take them off and then forever to put them back on again at your next destination.
Don’t box clothes
The clothes we had hanging in our closets we packed mostly in our luggage. We just left the hangers on and put them in suitcases. For our drawers? We just left a lot of the clothing in the drawers. It can make your dressers heavy so when loading the truck we just took the drawers out, moved the dresser and then put the drawers back in.
Instead of just writing “living room” try writing the types of content in each box so that if you’re looking for something later you can give yourself a hint to what might be in the box. So instead of “Office” I would put “Office – paper, ink, folders, computer cords”. It just takes a few extra seconds and will save you later, promise.
We’ve done a couple moves and we always get friends to help us out. Most friends are more than happy to help you for the day and I love paying friends with a meal since most of them wouldn’t let me pay them even if I tried.
No friends to help? Get paid help!
When I got moving quotes, one of the companies actually had a service where we didn’t have to hire their truck, but we could hire their movers. I believe it was meathead movers and it was 3 movers for a little under $200/hr. I thought that was insane, but if you need the help it’s still cheaper than hiring a moving company for the whole move and because they’re hired through a company they should be insured so if something happens it’s covered. If you just need help with the big stuff you could even just hire them for a few hours to help with that and then move the boxes yourself.
Moving is so stressful and so much work on top of everyday life so I’ll take what I can get as far as tips on saving time and money. Hopefully these tips will help you on your next move, too!